I know Western Queens, having lived in Astoria and Long Island City.
I am intimately familiar with Woodside and Sunnyside. Many of my friends live there.
And they tell me they have one neighbor who has to go.
This would be the hugely unpopular 26-year incumbent New York State Senator George Onorato - the conservative machine Democrat.
Onorato, who opposes abortion rights and has received the backing of the Christian coalition in the past, was one of eight Democrats to vote against marriage equality. He has to go.
The New York State Senate is rated the most dysfunctional legislature in the country, and Onorato is a part of the problem. He must go.
Who would be the strongest candidate to replace him? I recommend child advocate and civil rights attorney Jeremiah Frei-Pearson.
Last summer I wrote about his organization, Children's Rights: Protecting Foster Care in the U.S.
This fall I am adding my voice to the chorus that is rising from across New York State, especially in Queens, that we need this humanitarian to help solve the disaster known as Albany.
As a college student, he interned for the late and great Senator Ted Kennedy and volunteered with several organizations that provide services to children.
This is how I know Jeremiah, as founder of Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW). Jeremiah is particularly bright, savvy, and committed to humanity. Albany desperately needs him.
Although Jeremiah went to Stanford Law School, in California, he came back to New York every summer. He returned after September 11 to assist in the clean-up efforts at Ground Zero. The Red Cross officially recognized him for his work.
At Stanford, Jeremiah ran a center providing legal aid to poor people, co-founded the American Constitution Society and the Stanford Law School Democrats, and served on the Stanford Law & Policy Review.
After graduating in 2003, Jeremiah moved to Astoria, where he has lived ever since. He is married to the talented and beautiful Karla Mosley.
Currently Jeremiah works as a public interest lawyer for Children's Rights, representing foster children in class action cases to reform broken foster care systems.
Prior to his work with Children's Rights, he worked as an associate at the big law firm Kaye Scholer, where, in addition to his regular litigation practice, he took on many pro bono cases to secure social security benefits for elderly and disabled people.
Jeremiah is active in numerous civic groups in our community. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2008 New York State Thurgood Marshall Representation Award and a 2009 award from the New York City Council honoring his work with children.
He actively supports Western Queens Power for the People, Western Queens for Marriage Equality, Astorians United Against Hate Crimes, the Long Island City Alliance, the Coalition for a Better Astoria, Democracy for New York City, and the New York Lawyers' Democratic Counsel.
See Jeremiah Frei-Pearson on YouTube and Facebook
Related Stories by Jim Luce:
Harvey Milk Lives -- in Albany (Huffington Post)
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